After many years of admiring the monuments in the Clinton Briggs plot and wondering who he was (Omaha schools taught nothing of early Omaha history back when I was in school), I finally ran across a biography of him and found out he was fairly important in the early days of Omaha as a lawyer and judge.
Judge Clinton Briggs was born in Washtenaw county, Michigan, September 9, 1828, and studied law with Lathrop & Duffield at Detroit, the senior member of which firm is now the United States Minister to Russia. After being admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Michigan, in 1853, be entered the office of the late Wm. H. Seward, at Auburn, N. Y., for a further course of study, and in 1854 was admitted to practice in the Supreme court of that State. With this professional training be came to Omaha November 19, 1855, and at once entered into practice. In 1857 he was elected County judge for two years. Before his term expired he was elected to the Territorial Legislature, and assisted largely in framing the present Code of Civil Procedure of the State. At the expiration of his judicial term in 1859, Judge Briggs resumed his law practice, forming a partnership with Hon. John I. Redick, and for ten years thereafter, and until its dissolution, the firm of Redick & Briggs stood at the head of the Omaha bar, and represented one side of every important case. In 1860, Judge Briggs was elected the fourth Mayor of Omaha, his term being distinguished by the completion of telegraphic connection between Omaha and the Atlantic at New York, and the Pacific at San Francisco, via Salt Lake, and he sent the first congratulatory messages to those cities. After his term of Mayor expired, and up to 1871, Judge Briggs was wholly devoted to his profession, but his health becoming impaired in the latter years, he withdrew from general practice and confined himself to few, and only important cases. In 1875 he was a member of the Constitutional Convention which framed the present State Constitution. In 1877 be came within a few votes of receiving the Republican nomination for United States Senator, his candidacy being urged by his friends in recognition of his long, persistent and sucessful (sic) efforts to compel the two leading railroads of Nebraska to pay taxes on their immense land grants, and also of the prominent position taken by the judge in the Constitutional Convention on all questions as a representative of the people's interests. In the hope of regaining health Judge Briggs went to Europe in 1878, and traveled extensively there with much benefit, but on his return his ill health still continuing, he traveled much in California and the western States and Territories. The Judge aided in promoting various public enterprises in the interests of the city and State, among which was the construction of the Omaha & Southwestern railroad. He was still engaged in some important law cases at the time of his death, which occurred December 16, 1882.
The Briggs marker is a massive piece of stone, and you can almost feel it's weight when you look at it.
Clinton Briggs, October 1828 to December 19, 1882
The Briggs plot is in a very accessible spot, right by the road on the east side of the cemetery. Note the initial "B" on base of the planters.
The Briggs plot, with the Millard plot in the background.